To the west of Bad Ischl are the best known of all the Salzkammergut's 76 lakes—the Wolfgangsee and the Mondsee (See is German for "lake"). Not far to the southeast of these lakes lies one of Austria's loveliest spots, Gosau am Dachstein. Here the Gosau lakes are backdropped by a spectacular sight that acts as a landmark for many leagues: the Dachstein peak. Another scenic wonder is the storybook village of Hallstatt, huddled between mountain and lake.
Whether you start out from Salzburg or set up a base in Bad Ischl—the heart of the Lake District—it's best to take in the beauties of the Salzkammergut in perhaps two separate courses: first around the Fuschlsee, Mondsee, the Wolfgangsee, and Bad Ischl; then southwest to Gosau am Dachstein and back to the Hallstätter See.
Fuschl, St. Wolfgang, and Bad Ischl. Between its romantic lakes surrounded by Alpine peaks, this region is perfect for both water sports in summer and skiing in winter. The charming Bad Ischl's old-fashioned buildings document the town's importance in the days of the Habsburgs.
Gosau and Hallstatt. The sight from atop the Dachstein mountain range gives the impression of being on top of the world. The picturesque towns in this region are full of Austrian folklore and tradition, and have inspired many composers, painters, and poets.